I’ve taken some time to familiarize myself with the content of the 4e Shadowfell book, or as I often refer to it, “the Gloomwrought book,” on the slightly-better-than-off-chance the players will travel there.

I have my work cut out for me, because I find the writing in these kinds of books really tedious.

It helps that I have a lot to gain from the reading: my villain controls the city and benefits directly from its goings-on, so knowing the city means I know my villain better.

That’s one of the things I was rambling about the other day when I was talking about accounting and assets and resources at her disposal.

I noticed something interesting this time through the book: the city is organized into roughly five sections composed of seven to twelve (average 8.8) points of interest. There are like, five major factions and eleven notable NPCs, including villains.

It conforms very nicely, in some ways, to the rule of seven-plus-or-minus-two for remembering things.

Now, if the book were also organized to be referenced rather than be read, I’d say they had a winning combination, but it’s hard to find the things you want and easy to get lost in. There are no encounter tables, few “adventure sites,” and no index. Sidebars and essays are also poorly marked.

I’m tempted to actually write my own Gloomwrought book, just to do things differently. An index of NPCs would be nice, among other things.

Now, as to the reason for venturing to Gloomwrought.

I planted a seed in one of the side-stories, with an eldritch-pact warlock. He uncovered a clue to the location of the Book of Vile Darkness. This was intended as a throwaway reference to our prior campaign, like Indiana Jones finding the image of the Ark in the catacombs beneath Venice.

But there’s reason enough for the characters to want to find it. The warlock wants it for himself, and Morgran wants it for Science! (I mean, Ioun!)

I was apprehensive about encouraging the players to pursue the Book because I didn’t want them to be disappointed in not getting it — they would be “digging in the wrong place” — but yesterday it occurred to me there are plenty of good reasons to chase the lead: it’s like a good mystery, you follow the trail of evidence and see where it goes.

Sure, Silhouette might have gotten away work everything over a year ago, but that doesn’t mean the trail is cold. She might have coveted her tracks, but she also left a trail of bodies and broken hearts.

There’s even other material, I don’t know if I’ll be able to cover or all. There’s just too much, too much stuff for me to try and keep it all in my head.

So, yes! On with the reading! On with the note-taking! I’ll definitely wind up…somewhere!